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February 2011

The second week of February and the signs that Spring is on its way are clearly evident across the woodland floor. The Bluebells and the Ramsons (Wild Garlic) are already four to six inches tall, a pleasant reminder of the tremendous blue and white flowers that will carpet the woodland some six to eight weeks on. Other evidence of the advent of Spring can be seen in the display of catkins on the Willow and Hazel trees as well as an increase in the volume of birdsong as the wood's birdlife prepares for nesting. Particularly active and noisy at the present time is the wood's rookery.

While walking in the wood and around the village over the last four months you cannot but become aware of the very heavy crop of Ash tree fruit from last Autumn and at the same no fruit on the Sycamore trees - quite the reverse of the situation in the Autumn of 2009. Is there an explanation for this unusual phenomenon ?

On my way to the wood a few weeks age I stopped and looked over the old bridge and was very surprised to see, on a tree alongside the burn, a Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Treecreeper and, in the water just below them, a female Goosander. A few days earlier I had seen her mate in the Devon in the company of a large flock of Tufted Ducks.

How diverse and interesting Menstrie's wild life can be at times !

March 2011

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